Late last year, a decree abolishing humanitarian protections for migrants in Italy became law. Pushed by far-right leader Matteo Salvini as part of a crackdown on migrants and refugees, the law threatens to drive Italy’s migrant community further to the margins as anti-immigrant sentiment rises across the country.
ROME—Things were looking up for 21-year-old Gambian migrant Lamin Saidykhan in early November 2018. Two years after arriving in Italy via a dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, he had finally been granted humanitarian protection status by the Italian government, which would allow him to legally stay and work in the country for another two years.
But just a few weeks later, on Dec. 1, a decree first passed by Matteo Salvini, the far-right deputy prime minister and interior minister, became law. In addition to abolishing humanitarian protection status as part of a broader crackdown on migrants’ rights, the new law revoked resources like the right to stay in an asylum reception center for migrants in Italy like Saidykhan, despite having already been granted a humanitarian protection visa. As a result, after waiting two years to receive his documents, Saidykhan was given a few weeks notice to leave the asylum reception center where he’d lived since arriving in Italy.